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Osteoporosis and Spinal Fractures

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Osteoporosis is a condition where you lose bones rather than make them, as a result of an imbalance in natural processes within the bone. This is due to thinning and weakening of bones. Once the process starts it keeps progressing painlessly, until a bone suddenly breaks.

 

You usually won’t have any symptoms at an early stage. But once your bones get weak enough, you may start having pain. As bones weaken and lose density over time, it results in fractures. Fractures can happen in any bone of the body, but the most common site is the vertebrae of the spine. When fractures from osteoporosis occur in the spine they are known as vertebral compression fractures.  It affects nearly 700,000 people annually. Other common sites of fractures related to osteoporosis include the hips and the wrists.

 

Anatomy  

The spine consist of – individual bones called vertebrae, the spinal cord, and the nerves. There are 24 vertebrae in the spine, stacked on top of one another and forms a protective canal through which the spinal cord and the nerves travel. These “electrical cables” connect the brain to the rest of the body. The nerve roots exit the spine through the openings in vertebrae.

Between the vertebras,  there are intervertebral discs. These discs are flat, round, and about a half-inch thick. The discs provide a flexible cushion and act as shock absorbers while you walk or run. 

Causes

The most common cause of vertebral compression fracture is aging. As you get old, bones get weaken and lose density. 

However, weakened vertebrae bones are at high risk of fractures. It may occur when too much pressure is placed on it. Some patients may have a flattening of the spinal vertebrae that causes the spine to shorten and become rounded. A fall or car crash can also cause compression fractures, although it is less common. 

 

Symptoms  

Symptoms of vertebral compression fractures include severe pain and fractures. The pain mostly occurs near the breaks, and the fractures usually occur near the waistline, or slightly above (mid-chest) or below the waistline (lower back).

Sometimes, the pain gets worsens due to any movement like changing your position, coughing, and sneezing. But can be relieved by rest or lying down. Examples of other types of pain include: in the abdomen or down the legs.

Treatment

Nonsurgical treatment

Most of the compression fractures heal naturally within 3 months i. e., without any specific treatment. However, the use of medication, bracing to limit the motion of fractured vertebrae, or bed rest may be needed for a few days.

At the same time, not all compressions can be treated this way. When treatments like medications, exercise, or others don’t affect osteoporosis after three months, surgery may be the only option. 

 

Surgical treatment

Two minimally invasive techniques used are vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty.  

 

Kyphoplasty: A balloon tamp is inserted into the backbone and is expanded to restore the normal bone then bone cement is injected.

Once this is done, the patients can go back to their normal daily activities as soon as possible.

 

Vertebroplasty: After injecting a local anesthetic near the fractured bone, doctors inject acrylic bone cement into the collapsed backbone.  The cement hardens in two hours and stabilizes the backbone.

Once this is done, the patients can go back to their normal daily activities as soon as possible. 

Siora Surgicals is an  Orthopedic Implants distributor in UK of Cancellous Screw, Cortical Screws, Titanium Elastic Nailing System, Locking Plate for Hand Fracture, Humerus Nailing System, Hip Prosthesis.